Alstead Historical Society

Alstead Historical Society AHS is membership organization for people interested in the history of Alstead, New Hampshire, USA. Please consider supporting your Historiical Society
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Founded in 1937, the Alstead Historical Society (AHS) is dedicated to the preservation and conservation of the historical heritage of Alstead and surrounding towns, and to the education of children and the general public about the region's history. The Society maintains a museum in the Maybelle H. Still Memorial Building, an 1844 Universalist Church, that contains extensive collections of late 19th and early 20th century artifacts of cultural and social significance to Alstead. Items include textiles and artifacts of local commercial enterprises, including tin utensils manufactured in Alstead, photographs, documents, farm implements, and glassware that represent various aspects of life in a typical small, rural, hill town in southwestern New Hampshire. The Society has a small publications program and offers for sale copies of "Alstead through the Years: 1763-1990." Alstead Historical Society, Alstead, New Hampshire, 537 p. ($30.00 plus shipping)

Mission: AHS is membership organization for people interested in the history of Alstead, New Hampshire, USA. Members may join Facebook Group: Alstead Historical Society Members. General Information Individual and family membership are for the calendar year. Individual membership - $15.00 per year; Family membership - $25.00. Please provide the information requested below and a check made out to the “Alstead Historical Society.” Mail to AHS, Box 16, Alstead, NH 03602. AHS MEMBERSHIP FORM Name:_________________________________________ Address:_______________________________________ Town: ___________________ Zip code:______________ Telephone: _________________ Email:__________________________________

Many ask "Just who is Charles N. Vilas and what did he do for the Town of Alstead"?   Charles N. Vilas was a hotel propr...
09/18/2019

Many ask "Just who is Charles N. Vilas and what did he do for the Town of Alstead"? Charles N. Vilas was a hotel proprietor & philanthropist. He was born in Alstead on Nov 12, 1852. Following public school education he was employed at Bay State House, Worcester Ma, than in 1872 became associated with his Uncle Hiram Hitchcock, a proprietor of the Fifth Ave Hotel, New York, one of the most famous hostelries in the US. He began as a clerk, holding many various positions of importance. When his Uncle retired he purchased a half interest along with a nephew of his Uncle's partner. These two nephews of the original owners continued a very successful Hotel until it was raised in 1908. For many years Charles Vilas maintained a summer home on River Street, until purchasing a 300 acre farm in Alstead and he built a handsome home know as the Vilas Estate and created and developed "Vilas Pool" on this estate. This became a free recreation Park which he opened up to the public in 1926. The Park included a large swimming area, boating including Swan Boats, a large dancing pavilion, picnic areas, playground equipment and a beautiful stone tower with a carillon of 12 bells, said to be the 2nd largest in New England. He was a man of calm, placid and even tempered disposition. Creative & noted for his hospitality. He married twice, first, 1879 to Elizabeth Harrington of NY, who died in 1889, leaving 3 children who predeceased him. Second marriage was in 1918 to Jesie Ford of Pasadena Calf. Charles Vilas died at home in Alstead in 1931. His wife eventually returned to California and died on Valentine's Day Feb 14, 1959.
Vilas Pool enjoyed by hundreds annually became town property along with a sustaining fund of $75,000 in his will following his death. Under his Will also, he gave the town Vilas High School, a $175,00 building, plus a trust fund of $125,000 to help support it, dedicated to the town in Jan 1935. 1926 he gave the steeple of the Universalist in the center of town a town clock. He gave the metal entrance gates to Maple Side Cemetery along with a $1,000 trust fund for the care of Vilas lots, Maple Side & Alstead Center cemeteries. The field known as Millot Green he gave to the town as well as he purchased the ruins of the horrific fire in 1925 which destroyed the New England Telephone office, 2 stores & a garage. He enlarged the parking space, adding a flag pole and a Memorial area. Also a trust fund to each of the town's four churches and a $20,000 Trust fund for a bed at Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital, for Alstead people, and two trust funds, the income therefrom to be used for general purposes for which taxes are used, amounting in total to a half million dollars. His philanthropies extended beyond Alstead. He gave $120,000 to Mary Hitchcock Hospital named for his Aunt Mary Hitchcock of Drewsville, NH. He also gave $70,000 for a bridge between Walpole and BF Vt., which after his death was named the Vilas Memorial Bridge. How fortunate the town of Alstead was that Charles N. Vilas lived here and continued to have a strong love for this Community!

Just a reminder this program is tonight:Alstead Historical Society ProgramThursday Aug 15, 2019 7pm3rd Congregational Ch...
08/15/2019

Just a reminder this program is tonight:
Alstead Historical Society Program
Thursday Aug 15, 2019 7pm
3rd Congregational Church, River Street, Alstead, NH
Title: From Guns to Gramophones: Civil War and The Technology that shaped America

Alstead Historical Society ProgramThursday Aug 15, 2019 7pm3rd Congregational Church, River Street, Alstead, NH Title: F...
07/24/2019

Alstead Historical Society Program
Thursday Aug 15, 2019 7pm
3rd Congregational Church, River Street, Alstead, NH
Title: From Guns to Gramophones: Civil War and The Technology that shaped America

A big shout out to Bruce Bellows who made the perfect shelf to go on top of the Veterans Showcase at the Alstead Histori...
07/18/2019

A big shout out to Bruce Bellows who made the perfect shelf to go on top of the Veterans Showcase at the Alstead Historical Society, such a nice addition for showing Veterans artifacts! Bruce’s dedication & love to the Society in keeping his home town history alive is remarkable!
Also a huge thanks to descendants of Charles Vilas family, Stephen & Margaret Barney who recently donated the Vilas Cradle, Highchair and clock to the Vilas Family collection! Such a wonderful addition! Bruce & Marie did a wonderful job re-arranging the Vilas showcase as well!
We are all part of history. We are all shaped by the past, with an eye on the future. Everyone who has ties to Alstead are all important to the Alstead Historical Society Museum, because you make history in your life every day. Community projects, your business, your volunteer activities, your children and their schools, the annual festivals at your local Park and festivities in town and schools, all history! You will be in the archives yourself someday.
Your contribution helps us share the stories of our common history—past and present.
We thank everyone who donates, volunteers and supports the Alstead Historical Society! 🙏

04/16/2019

SONGS OF OLD NEW HAMPSHIRE: The Alstead Historical Society will present "Songs of Old New Hampshire featuring folklorist Jeff Warner on Thursday, April 25th at 7 p.m. at the Third Congregational Church 14 River Street , Alstead

ALSTEAD HISTORICAL SOCIETY EVENTOctober 10, 20187:00 PM3rd Congregational ChurchRiver StreetAlstead, NH  03602 PROGRAMBo...
09/24/2018

ALSTEAD HISTORICAL SOCIETY EVENT
October 10, 2018
7:00 PM
3rd Congregational Church
River Street
Alstead, NH 03602

PROGRAM
Books And Paper : Old and Rare And Occasionally Well Done

Frank Wood, co-owner of Dewolfe and Wood, located in Alfred, Maine, has been in the book and paper business for forty years. Mr. Wood will talk about what the book and paper market is like in the days of the internet. How to value your collection. What makes a book or paper item rare and also burst the bubble of some myths, such as, because a book is old it has to be valuable, and first editions are not what they are cracked up to be. He encourages attendees to bring paper, books, photographs and manuscripts you found in the attic, barn, or closet for him to use as talking points and will give you ideas of their value. He will also discuss the proper care for books and paper and how to downsize items.

Mr. Wood who comes from a museum and library background, travels all over the country looking for treasures to buy and sell. He will share with you some of his travels and interesting situations he has found on his travels.

This presentation is FREE and open to the public. Light refreshments will follow the presentation. Donations gratefully accepted.

Exhibit of Parlor Games and Older Toys- See how our Ancestors entertain themselves when there was no electronics.  Museu...
07/31/2018

Exhibit of Parlor Games and Older Toys- See how our Ancestors entertain themselves when there was no electronics. Museum Hours:
August 11-12- 1-4 p.m.

Alstead Historical Society News . . . . . .Upcoming Alstead event - Thursday, July 19, 2018, 7:00 p.m.3rd Congregational...
06/18/2018

Alstead Historical Society News . . . . . .
Upcoming Alstead event -

Thursday, July 19, 2018, 7:00 p.m.
3rd Congregational Church, 14 River Street, Alstead, N.H.

Speaker: Pamela Weeks, a Binney Family Curator of the New England Quilt Museum, author of ‘Civil War Quilts” and who has written article’s and lectured on quilt making and quilt history, will share her program about quilts and the stories they tell.

Title: New England Quilts and the Stories They Tell

Quilt history is full of myths and misinformation as well as heart-warming tales of service and tradition. Quilting is NOT just an American art as nearly every world culture that has cold weather uses quilted textiles.

Pamela Weeks weaves world history, women’s history, industrial history and just plain wonderful stories into her presentation.

Participants are invited to bring one quilt for identification and/or story sharing. Prompted in part by the material culture at hand, the presentor may speak about fashion fads, the Colonial Revival, quilt making for the Civil War soldiers, and anything else quilt related she can squeeze in!

This program is supported through the generosity of a grant from the New Hampshire Humanities Council – Humanities To Go Program.
The presentation is FREE and open to the public.

Light refreshments follow the presentation. Donations gratefully accepted.

2018 Alstead Historical Society Museum Opening Dates and TimesTimes: 10 a.m -2 p.mMay  28 - Memorial  Day.June 9 & 10 - ...
05/10/2018

2018 Alstead Historical Society Museum Opening Dates and Times
Times: 10 a.m -2 p.m
May 28 - Memorial Day.
June 9 & 10 - Parlor Games and Toys
June 23 & 24 - Parlor Games and Toys
July 14 & 15 - Kitchen & Cooking utensils
October 8 - Last day Museum will be open
Private Tours are also given - Call: Marie Harling(835-6972), Bruce Bellow(835 6571), Margaret Perry (835-6925)

It was our pleasure to have Mountain View Bible Group from Dublin NH tour our museum today.  If your group would like a ...
03/29/2018

It was our pleasure to have Mountain View Bible Group from Dublin NH tour our museum today.
If your group would like a private tour of The Alstead Historical Society, please contact us!

02/19/2018

Alstead Historical Society
P.O. Box 16
Alstead, N.H. 03602

Dear Members and Friends of the Alstead Historical Society,

Our annual membership drive has begun. We urge you to renew your membership or join. Student is $5:00, Senior - $15:00, Individual - $20.00, Family - $25.00, Sponsor - $75:00, Contributor - $100.00 while Life Membership is $250.00

Special thanks to Joanne Wildes for manning the office so faithfully. Thanks also goes to Sam and Peg Sutcliffe for all their time and effort that they have donated to our Historical Society.

Sam arranged for the Alstead Town's Record Book No. 1, dating from 1763 to 1800, to be conserved, thanks to a Moose Grant, and is now available on a CD for anyone to use while doing research.

During the spring we had a display at the town library of numerous scrapbooks and photo albums along with pictures of a Three Town Fair and parade which took place around 1920.
.
Allison Dean donated a number of short writings written by Dr. Ben Allison concerning the Amos Shepard Tavern, mills, homes and various Alstead residents from the past. Dr. Allison owned the Shepard Tavern in Alstead Center during the early to mid 1900's.

With the help of New Hampshire Humanities to Go Program, we hosted two programs last year. One dealing with “New Hampshire Weather Vanes” was presented by Glen Knoblock and Steve Taylor, presented “ Poor Houses and Town Farms” He discussed ideas of how handling social welfare and mental illness evolved over the years.

Much was accomplished at the Museum this year. Charles Vilas' collection of Plains Indian artifacts was moved from the 2nd. Floor to the 1st. Floor. Research found that Mr. Vilas acquired these artifacts, known to be part of the Colton collection, from the Museum of Northern Arizona.

Work was completed on installing the composting toilet. The furnace was cleaned, new stove pipe installed and the chimney was lined. Under the guidance of Bruce Bellows, the interior of a one room school house was constructed on the 2nd floor and is set up to display what a school house looked like then.

We continue to receive items donated that represent the history of Alstead and we wish to thank all who donated.

In 2018, the Society plans to produce a quarterly letter. Peg Sutcliffe has volunteered to be our editor.

Office hours in the Town Office building has been changed to Thursdays from 1p.m. to 4 p.m.

Marie H. Harling
Membership Secretary

Alstead Historical Society News . . . . . . Upcoming 2017 Alstead Event –Thursday, November 9, 2017, 7:00 p.m.Third Cong...
10/24/2017

Alstead Historical Society News . . . . . .
Upcoming 2017 Alstead Event –

Thursday, November 9, 2017, 7:00 p.m.
Third Congregational Church, 14 River Street, Alstead, N.H.

Speaker: Steve Taylor, Independent Scholar, Meriden, NH
Title: “Poor Houses and Town Farms: The Hard Row For Paupers”

From its earliest settlements, New Hampshire towns have struggled with issues surrounding the treatment of its poor. The early Northeastern colonies followed the lead of England’s 1601 Poor Law, which imposed compulsory taxes for maintenance of the poor but made no distinction between the “vagrant, vicious poor” and the helpless, and honest poor . This confusion persisted for generations and led directly to the establishment of alms houses and poor farms in most of the State’s towns and later county institutions. Collectively, this formed a dark chapter in New Hampshire’s history. Steve Taylor will examine how paupers were treated in these facilities and how reformers eventually succeeded in closing them down.

This program is supported through the generosity of the New Hampshire Humanities Council – Humanities to Go Program.

The presentation is FREE and open to the public. Light refreshments follow the presentation. Donations gratefully accepted.

Alstead Historical Society News . . . . . . Upcoming Alstead event -Wednesday, July 19, 2017, 7:00 p.m.3rd Congregationa...
07/11/2017

Alstead Historical Society News . . . . . .
Upcoming Alstead event -
Wednesday, July 19, 2017, 7:00 p.m.
3rd Congregational Church, 14 River Street, Alstead, N.H.
Speaker: Glen Knoblock is an independent scholar and author of fifteen books and over 100 articles. He holds a BA in History from Bowling Green State University.
Title: New Hampshire on High: Historic and Unusual Weathervanes of the Granite State
This program offers a fun and engaging look at the historic and unusual weathervanes found on New Hampshire's churches, town halls, and other public buildings from earliest times to the present. Highlighted by the visual presentation of a sampling of the vanes found throughout the State. Glenn Knoblock’s program will trace the history of weathervanes, their practical use and interesting symbolism, as well as their varied types and methods of manufacture and evolution from practical weather instrument to architectural embellishment.
This program is supported through the generosity of a grant from the New Hampshire Humanities Council – Humanities To Go Program.
The presentation is FREE and open to the public.
Light refreshments follow the presentation. Donations gratefully accepted.

05/10/2017

Alstead Historical Society News . . . . . . Replacement event
Thursday, May18, 2017, 7:00 p.m.

3rd Congregational Church, 14 River Street, Alstead, N.H.
Speaker: Dr. Robert Goodby, Associate Professor of Anthropology,
Franklin Pierce University, Rindge, N.H.
Title: 12,000 Years Ago in the Granite State
The native Abenaki people played a central role in the history of the
Monadnock Region, defending it against English settlement and forcing the abandonment of Keene and other Monandnock area towns during the French and Indian Wars. Despite this, little is known about the Abenaki, and conventional histories often depict the first Europeans entering into an untamed, uninhabited wilderness, rather than the homeland of people
who have been there for hundreds of generations. In this presentation, Dr. Goodby discusses how the real depth of Native history was revealed when an archaeological study prior to construction of the Keene Middle School discovered traces of four structures dating to the end of the Ice Age. Undisturbed for 12,000 years, the site revealed information about the economy, gender roles, and household organization of the Granite State’s very first inhabitants, as well as evidence of social networks that
extended hundreds of miles across northern New England.
This program is supported through the generosity of the New Hampshire Humanities Council – Humanities To Go Program.
The presentation is FREE and open to the public.
Light refreshments follow the presentation. Donations gratefully
accepted

That time of year when the Annual reports will be coming out.  Love looking back thru the old Annual Reports of the Town...
02/23/2017

That time of year when the Annual reports will be coming out. Love looking back thru the old Annual Reports of the Town Officers, Alstead, NH. One can learn much from these reports! Love the old advertisements from local businesses back in the day! This one is dated 1879. The Alstead Historical Society has a full collection & can be viewed at request at the AHS office. Currently we are doing our Annual Membership drive. Please consider a membership with your local Historical Society, let's keep preserving the history of this great small town!

Alstead Historical Society Receives Grant:Bruce Bellows, president of the Alstead Historical Society, announced recently...
01/25/2017

Alstead Historical Society Receives Grant:
Bruce Bellows, president of the Alstead Historical Society, announced recently that they have been the recipient of a grant from the New Hampshire License Plate Program (Moose Plate) for the conversation and preservation of Alstead’s Record Book A. Bruce and AHS member Sam Sutcliffe worked on the proposal with conservators Carolyn Frisa and Raven Norlander-McCarty of Works on Paper in Bellows Falls, VT and sent it to the New Hampshire State Library last spring. The finished book will be bound by Malcolm Summers of The Chester Bookworm in Chester, Vermont.
Record Book A is the Alstead town clerk’s record dating from 1763 to 1800 and contains within its 360 pages town meeting results, birth, death and marriage records of the residents, road layouts and other pertinent information concerning the birth and life of the town. When completed, the book will not only be conserved, but there will be available to the public digitized copies as well as microfilmed versions of the book. Those interested in doing research on the beginnings of the town as well as family records will have access through the New Hampshire State Library, the Alstead Historical Society as well as the Shedd-Porter Library in Alstead Village.
This is not the first book to be conserved by the Historical Society. In 2015 the Alstead Proprietor’s Book was conserved in the same manner through private funding and is now available at the Historical Society and Shedd-Porter Library for viewing. A transcription of the Proprietor’s Book will soon be available for ease of reference.

Address

16 Pleasant St
Alstead, NH
03602

Telephone

(603) 835-8075

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Comments

Does anyone know where to buy clapboards for the older homes to replace rotted ones and fit in with the current ones.? ? Home Depot, Aubucoun, Hamshaws to mention a few all only have the lightly larger ones that are currently being sold.
Does anbody have info on what this structure was or where this was located? It's large, there is a team of horses in just 1/3rd of the opening. (CLICK ON PHOTO TO ENLARGE, or save it) This photo came from Marlow Historical Society to Alstead, and it is in the Mines folder with no identification.